Every now and then, agents run into clients that have a desire to change the way they pay their monthly Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug Plan premium. The typical way to have someone take care of this is to call Humana’s customer service department. However, in this age of websites and do-it-yourself seniors, the mission can be accomplished quite easily online. Here’s a quick rundown of what your more computer and internet savvy clients can do:
Humana’s Medicare health plans
We often get questions relating to the enrollment of Medicare eligible veterans outside of the Annual Election Period. In short, veterans are treated just as any other Medicare eligible person. There are a few things to note, however, when working with a veteran who is Medicare eligible. Here’s a short list of things to consider when helping veterans make an informed decision about Medicare Advantage enrollment:
So you want to grow your Medicare client base through MAPD and PDP education and enrollments. Well, you can’t call anyone, even if they’re referred to you. Can’t email anyone, unless they give you permission to. Direct response can be effective, but requires an investment to yield response rates of approximately 1%.
Prospecting in the Medicare space requires creativity, professionalism, and optimizations of the remaining pathways to Medicare beneficiaries allowed by CMS and your state DOI. One opportunity that has proven to be a powerful way to engage new clients is through the Walmart workstations made available to authorized agents during AEP.
It is said that 80% of Medicare beneficiaries live within 15 minutes of a Walmart! Through Humana’s strategic alliance with the world’s largest retailer (3,700 stores), an agent may cover a shift in the store of their choice, provided they are equipped and certified to represent the portfolio of Humana products available in their market, and can commit to a predetermined shift of at least six hours per week (e.g. Monday/Wednesday 1pm-4pm). This pathway is deemed an unadvertised seminar by CMS, meaning hours committed to must be reported to CMS for secret shopping opportunities. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful resource for engaging new Medicare beneficiaries (or their friends and loved ones) in their quest to determine the best product available for their specific needs.
In our experience, over 70% of the best performing agents last year played a role at a Walmart workstation last season, so there’s a high correlation between productivity and this resource. Of course this is also predicated on the degree of effort and focus the agent demonstrates while present. Interfacing with the local store and pharmacy managers and staff also helps drive interested parties to your workspace accordingly.
Like anything else, you get what you put into it. We believe this to be a wonderful opportunity for ambitious agents out there in the Medicare space, and provide over 500 store coverage opportunities nationally on behalf of Humana.
We can’t forget the importance of service, ethics, and compassion for clients in our roles as insurance professionals. I was reminded of this when I fielded a call last week from a plan member, who had some legitimate concerns. I rarely speak with the members themselves, so this caught me off guard at first. The lady on the line was noticeably upset, a bit frightened even, and looking for someone that would help her. She had just received notification that her Medigap plan was going to experience a significant rate hike for both she and her husband, and while she never came out and said it, I could sense that affordability of this new premium was a major challenge. She shared that it was very difficult to reach her agent, and after several attempts, was told that there was nothing that could be done, and that the reason for the increase was “Obamacare”. Her husband, also an older gentlemen, struggles with hearing on the phone, so she was stepping up to the challenge of finding solutions on behalf of them both. This woman was very sharp, and perceptive, but obviously needed someone with the expertise to advise her of any and all options available to reduce their cost of coverage. Having recently celebrated a birthday, her research revealed that there may be some favorable rules within this time period that might allow their to select another plan in their state of residency. Her existing agent had already written this option off.
Earlier this week I read that our country’s spending on health care has been at historic lows for a third straight year. The conclusion was formed by comparing health spending growth rates to the overall growth of the economy, reasoning that it’s easier to keep up with the costs if the two are aligned, than if health spending surges ahead.